Friends and family bid farewell to club rugby legends

Stalwarts . . . From left, Mxolisi Mkiva, Monwabisi Mtsila and Jackson Mtsila, will always be remembered for the impact they had on the club rugby scene.

It’s been a triple blow for club rugby fans as they bid farewell to local legends, Mxolisi “Xola” Mkiva, Jackson Mtsila and his brother, Monwabisi Mtsila, who died last week.

Shopowner Mkiva, 60, was a member of the Langa-based Western Zebras Rugby Club and Eastern Zebras Rugby Club.

Director of rugby at Busy Bees Rugby Football Club, Alfred Msutu Kewana shared his condolences to Mkiva’s family, the rugby family and the community of Langa.

Kewana said Mkiva’s support played a huge role in their junior and women’s teams’ progress, as he would sponsor them for local games and tournaments they played outside of the city.

“He was a giant of a man. A big tree has fallen. He was a very supportive man.

“He would always say that Busy Bees was the club of his grandparents, although he opted to play for Zebras due to loyalty to his schoolmates,” Kewana said.

Western Zebras long-serving member, Justice Mabandla said in the mid-2000s Mkiva broke away from Western Zebras and started Eastern Zebras.

“He was a good person. He joined Western Zebras in the early 1990s straight from school.

“We had a tournament in the Eastern Cape when he joined. He played at centre and flyhalf.

“He became a manager and a trainer/coach and made a big difference as a manager because he would mix juniors with seniors,” he said.

Mkiva will be laid to rest in Qoboqobo, in the Eastern Cape, on Saturday July 18.

Jackson Mtsila, 72, was a member, manager and senior player at Lagunya Rugby Club.

His son, Mziyanda said his father made a name for himself at Buffalo Rugby Club in Gugulethu at the stellar age of 16.

Throughout these years, his brother, Monwabisi, 68, was alongside him.

After Buffalos, they partnered with a number of clubs from Gugulethu, Nyanga and Crossroads to form Ikhwezi Rugby Club.

They then played for All Blacks Rugby Club at the NY49 sports complex.

“My dad (Jackson) was a very quiet man. He wasn’t someone to get angry over anything or anyone. When he would explain something, he would use rugby as an example because that is how much he loved and lived it,” he said.

“My uncle was like a twin to him, we would always refer to them as twins. They would get up every morning and meet at the stadium to train,” said Mziyanda.

Jackson Mtsila was laid to rest last week Thursday, July 9, and his brother Monwabisi, the following day.